Screaming Eagles Through Time
SSgt. Michael S. Hancock


Yreka, Calif.
1/320th Field Artillery Regiment
Killed in action October 24, 2003 

Hancock Remembered
-Siskiyou Daily News story by John Diehm, October 28, 2003

YREKA - Sgt. Michael S. Hancock, 29, a native Yrekan who graduated from Yreka High School in 1993, is remembered by many in Yreka as a helpful young man with an eager smile.

Hancock, who died in Iraq on Friday, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He joined the Army right after graduating from high school.

Stationed out of Fort Campbell, Ky., Hancock was an avid bicyclist who loved children, said his wife, Jeannie Hancock of Clarksville, Tenn.

The couple met in 1994 when she was driving in Fort Stewart, Ga., and almost struck him while he was riding his bicycle.

They met by chance later that night at a coffee shop, and had what she calls a ''fairytale romance.''

They married in June 1995 and later had two children, Ashley, 7, and Christopher, 3. Hancock also adopted her two other children, Amber Cook, 10, and James Cook, 9.

''He was a very loving father and husband,'' Jeannie Hancock said. ''He was so funny that he'd make you laugh all the time.''

In addition to his love of bicycling, he was a member of the Army track team, said his father, Michael R. Hancock of Mountain View, Hawaii.

''He could ride a bicycle 100 miles and come back by lunchtime,'' he said. ''But he could never pass his driver's test.''

Michael Hancock attended Northeast Baptist Church in Clarksville with his children.

''He believes in Jesus, so we'll see him again,'' his father said. ''This wasn't the end, so we have a hope.''

Jeannie said her husband planned to make his career in the military.

"Over the summer, he returned home after several years stationed in Alaska," she said. "He had a month with his family before shipping out for Iraq at the end of September."

The last time Jeannie Hancock spoke to her husband was earlier last week over the Internet.

''He said everything was nice, that they were building schools for the children and the children thought they were movie stars,'' she said.

Funeral arrangements have not been made, but Jeannie said she is considering holding services in California.

Siskiyou County Supervisor Bill Overman said he will introduce a resolution at the next supervisor's meeting honoring Sgt. Michael Hancock for answering the call to duty. The resolution will remember him as an honored son of Siskiyou County.

Overman said he will also request that the flags in Yreka be lowered to half staff on the day of the resolution.

"It is a shame that these things happen," Overman said. "We send our young people overseas and these things happen."

Hancock's teachers and classmates at Yreka High School remember him as a pleasant and happy person, involved in many school clubs and activities. He was a member of the ski club, track team, in the drama club, FFA, and Young Life.

"Mike was just one of the nicest guys you have ever met," said Spring (Anderson) Smith, YHS class of 1994. She is a former military wife now living in the Southeast region of the United States.

"Yes, we remember him," Smith said. "When I talk with my friends about Mike, it is his kind smile that will always be remembered."

While Hancock was a student, he worked for the maintenance department at the school for two years and during the summers.

School secretary Frankie Mulloy said he was "a very, very nice boy who really got along well with adults. He had a great physique and he would work without his shirt on in the summer and in the office we would comment on it."

Young Life leader Jon Hall said that he worked with Mike Hancock at school and remembers him as a neat student.

"He was a student that participated in Young Life for four years and went to Mexico to build homes," Hall said. "Whenever there was an opportunity to help, he was there. I understand that Mike was also working on getting on the military cross country team."

Hall said that Hancock's mother, Jeanette Youngblood, still lives in Yreka. He was in Yreka last spring for a visit.

Billy Overman, grandson of Siskiyou County Supervisor Bill Overman, remembers Hancock as a classmate at Yreka High School and wrote a farewell letter to his friend Mike after hearing of his death in Iraq:

"You will be missed, remembered and never forgotten," Overman wrote. "I remember our days in high school together where you always had a smile on your face and a laugh in your voice. Your children, wife, family, and friends will miss you but all know that you died fighting for what you believed in.

"You died doing your duty to your country and to that of another. Your sacrifice will not be in vain. You died a hero, a hero for America and the rest of the world to remember, and most importantly, a hero for your children. We will miss you Mike, more than you know. You are one of ours, and we do not forget each other."

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq on May 1, 113 U.S. soldiers have been killed by hostile fire.

Cpt. Vincent Generoso mourned the loss of Sgt. Hancock

101st artillerymen say goodbye to fallen brother

101st Airborne Division, 40th PAD

MOSUL, Iraq -- On Oct. 5, Sgt. Michael S. Hancock reported here to Battery C, 1-320th Field Artillery Regiment, where he would begin his new assignment with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Hancock was in his 10th year in the Army and was entering his second tour with the division.

His section leader would be Sgt. Joshua Forbess; the two hit it off immediately.

"My section had just got back from a patrol, my platoon sergeant told me I had a new NCO (non-commissioned officer)," Forbess recalled.

"Shortly after that, we had to go out on another patrol and he was rolling with us."

Forbess lost his friend Friday, just 19 days after Hancock reported to his new unit. Hancock was on a patrol in Mosul when he and a group of soldiers engaged a gang of looters. Forbess was at a nearby position when he heard the gunshots.

"We heard the gunfire, the guard force was out there, and I reacted to it. We approached the place where the gunfire was coming from, and that's where we found him," Forbess said.

Tuesday at Hancock's memorial ceremony, Forbess stood in front of several hundred 101st soldiers, including Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the division's commanding general, and praised the friend he knew for such a short time.

"On 24 October, 2003, I lost a soldier, a peer, a comrade, a friend and a brother. I know you (Hancock) are with the angels right now, trying to break that 10-minute two-mile barrier," Forbess said.

Every one of Hancock's soldiers, peers, and commanders said he as an avid and voracious runner.

First Sgt. Mathew Nagel of C Battery knew Hancock from his tour at Fort Stewart, Ga. Hancock was only a specialist at that point but exhibited the promise of a soldier destined for greatness, especially at physical training.

Hancock was given a full, traditional military memorial ceremony complete with a 21-gun salute and ceremonial role-call, conducted by Nagel.